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Prince Duan of the Second Rank
Prince Duan (Tuan).jpg
Photograph of Zaiyi
Prince Duan of the Second Rank of the Qing Dynasty
Reign 1861 - 1900
Predecessor Yizhi
Successor Zaixun
Spouse Yehenara Jingfang
Issue Pujun
Full name
Aisin-Gioro Zaiyi
House House of Aisin-Gioro
Father Yicong
Born (1856-08-26)26 August 1856
Died 24 November 1922(1922-11-24) (aged 66)
Traditional Chinese 載漪
Simplified Chinese 载漪

Zaiyi (26 August 1856 – 24 November 1922)[1] was a Manchu prince and statesman of the late Qing Dynasty.[2] His title was Prince Duan (or Prince Tuan in Wade–Giles), or more formally Prince Duan of the Second Rank (端郡王). He is best known as one of the leaders of the Boxer Rebellion.


Zaiyi was born of the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan as the second son of Yicong. His family was under the Bordered White Banner of the Eight Banners. He was adopted by Yizhi (奕誌), Prince Rui of the Second Rank, because the latter had no heir. In 1861 Zaiyi inherited Yizhi's princely title but the title was renamed to "Prince Duan of the Second Rank" (端郡王).

An advisor and close ally of Empress Dowager Cixi, whose niece he married,[1][3] Zaiyi was an opponent of the Hundred Days' Reform. After the reformist movement was crushed, Zaiyi had his son Pujun (溥儁) designated as heir to the Tongzhi Emperor, and thus heir presumptive to Tongzhi's successor, the Guangxu Emperor.[1][4]

A leading conservative and strongly anti-foreign politician, Zaiyi was one of the main supporters of the Righteous Harmony Society (or "Boxers") during the Boxer Rebellion, and arranged a meeting between Empress Dowager Cixi and Boxer leader Cao Futian. In 1899, Zaiyi set up his own armed forces, known as the Tiger and Divine Corps.[5] His forces were among the several modernized Manchu banner forces.[6] During the crisis in June 1900, he was appointed as head of the Zongli Yamen. He commanded the Boxers who besieged the Beitang cathedral. He was also appointed as General in command of the Beijing Field Force.[7] Zaiyi's younger brother Zailan (載瀾) was also one of the leaders of the Boxer Rebellion.

After the failure of the uprising, and as the Qing imperial court turned against the Boxers, Zaiyi fell from favour. A decree named him as co-conspirator behind the Boxer Rebellion, and he was, along with his family, exiled for life in Xinjiang.[8] According to Princess Der Ling, Dowager Empress Cixi blamed Prince Duan for the Boxer crisis, including the edict issued that decreed the death of all foreigners, which according to Cixi, was issued without her authorization or knowledge. [9]

However, Zaiyi's banishment did not take him to Xinjiang (called Turkestan by a consular officer). Instead, he moved to Alashan, west of Ningxia, and lived in the residence of the local Mongol prince. He then moved to Ningxia during the Xinhai Revolution when the Muslims took control of Ningxia, and finally, moved to Xinjiang with Sheng Yun.[10]

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China in 1911, when Zaiyi returned from exile, he found out that he was regarded as a national hero. His aggressive anti-foreign stance led him to be treated as an honourable guest among the elite, and the Republican government cooperated with him, allowing him to visit Beijing. He also retained his anti-foreign stance. When a military officer threw a party for him in western style and with western utensils (such as forks), he refused to eat. He also became angry when his grandchildren approved of the trains they were riding in, which he hated since they were made by foreigners.[11]

Foreigners were furious at Zaiyi's arrival in Beijing, and protests arose. Zaiyi then moved back to Ningxia, Gansu, and the government increased his stipend by 50%.[12]

In 1963, he was portrayed by Sir Robert Helpmann in the historical epic 55 Days at Peking.


  • Adoptive grandfather: Mianxin (綿忻), Prince Rui of the First Rank, fourth son of the Jiaqing Emperor.
  • Adoptive father: Yizhi (奕誌), Prince Rui of the Second Rank.

Titles held[edit]

  • Beile (貝勒)
  • Prince Rui of the Second Rank (瑞郡王)
  • Prince Duan of the Second Rank (端郡王)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Edward J.M. Rhoads, Manchus & Han: Ethnic Relations and Political Power in Late Qing and Early Republican China, 1861-1928, University of Washington Press, 2001
  2. ^ Owen Mortimer Green (1943). The foreigner in China. Hutchinson. p. 148. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  3. ^ Zaiyi's wife Jingfang, of the Yehenara clan, was the third daughter of Empress Dowager Cixi's younger brother Guixiang (桂祥). Jingfang was thus a younger sister of Empress Xiaodingjing, who was Guixiang's second daughter.
  4. ^ Diana Preston (2000). The boxer rebellion: the dramatic story of China's war on foreigners that shook the world in the summer of 1900. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 38. ISBN 0-8027-1361-0. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  5. ^ Lanxin Xiang, The Origins of the Boxer War : A Multinational Study, Routledge, 2002, p.220
  6. ^ Edward J. M. Rhoads (2001). Manchus & Han: Ethnic Relations and Political Power in Late Qing and Early Republican China, 1861-1928. University of Washington Press. p. 72. ISBN 0-295-98040-0. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  7. ^ Arnold Henry Savage Landor (1901). China and the allies, Volume 1. Charles Scribner's sons. p. 24. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  8. ^ Peter Harrington & David Chandler, Peking 1900: The Boxer Rebellion, Osprey Publishing, 2001
  9. ^ Derling, Princess Two Years in the Forbidden City, (New York: Moffat Yard & Company, pg. 361 (New York: Moffat Yard & Company, 1911), accessed June 25th, 2013
  10. ^ Travels Of A Consular Officer In North-West China. CUP Archive. p. 188. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  11. ^ Lanxin Xiang (2003). The origins of the Boxer War: a multinational study. Psychology Press. p. xiv. ISBN 0-7007-1563-0. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  12. ^ Lanxin Xiang (2003). The origins of the Boxer War: a multinational study. Psychology Press. p. xv. ISBN 0-7007-1563-0. Retrieved 2010-10-28.